A new report released Tuesday looks at the negative impact pregnancy criminalization laws are having on pregnant women, reports Kimberly Lawson. “These laws put pregnant women in a double bind, forcing them to choose between risking their health and risking punishment,” Carrie Eisert, a policy adviser at Amnesty International and the report’s author, said in a statement.
“These harsh and discriminatory laws are making pregnancy more dangerous and trampling on human rights in the process.”
Amnesty International is concentrating on two particularly punitive state laws: Alabama’s 2006 chemical endangerment law and Tennessee’s “fetal assault” law, which became the first in the country in 2014 to make it a crime to give birth to a child who appears to show symptoms of exposure to narcotics, Lawson points out.
According to Lawson, the report clearly shows how such legislation—”spawned from a history of racial discrimination in policing women’s bodies, growing restrictions on reproductive rights, health care inequities and ineffective drug laws—actually discourages women from seeking healthcare, prenatal care, and even drug treatment.”